Reporter Trump praised for asking a "nice question," is 19, doesn't do much reporting

This isn't the first time Trump has (perhaps unwittingly) used teenagers to massage his own ego

By Matthew Rozsa
Published February 20, 2017 6:31PM (EST)
 (Getty/Timothy A. Clary)
(Getty/Timothy A. Clary)

Although President Donald Trump's 77-minute Thursday press conference prompted observers to comment that "We elected a mess," "That would have been a really funny hour or so of television if he weren’t president of the United States," and "While you're watching the clown screw the pony, they're breaking into your car," one person who seemed to benefit from it was a reporter who the president praised for asking a "nice question."

It turns out that reporter was 19-year-old Kyle Mazza.

"It was surreal," Mazza told New York WPIX-TV. "It was a very interesting moment. I didn’t think he was going to call in me. I kept saying ‘Mr. President,’ but then I just came out with the question."

Mazza hails from Fair Lawn, N.J., where he started the Universal News Forever Network (UNF) when he was only 8 years old. He reportedly listened to police scanners and weather radios to gather news at that time, but has since then developed more sophisticated techniques for what is now his own website.

"UNF News is visible on I also tweet, cover car accidents, I cover Mayor de Blasio, I go to 1 Police Plaza," Mazza told WPIX.

The site bills itself as being "News and information 24/7." On Monday, it published six articles — all about the 2017 iHeartRadio Music Awards. Last week, it published articles three articles: one about a missing person in New York, one on the iHeartRadio awards (again) and one about the ability to stream Prince music — on iHeartRadio. In fact, the entire month of February was pretty much devoted to iHeartRadio content; save for that post about a missing person and another about another New York radio station, everything centered around the communications company.

Since the site's inception in January 2016, it published 160 articles, including one that looked an awful lot like a post from NH Labor News.

Mazza will return to the White House Briefing Room this week to ask questions to press secretary Sean Spicer.

The question posed by Mazza involved Trump's wife, First Lady Melania Trump.
“Mr. President, Melania Trump announced the reopening of the White House Visitors Office. And she does a lot of great work for the country as well. Can you tell us a little bit about what first lady Melania Trump does for the country?” Mazza asked.
He later told The New York Times, "I was really honored that he appreciated my question. And I was appreciative he answered my question. The president took the time out of his day to answer my question.”
This isn't the first time that Trump has raised the profile of a teenager. In November, only a few weeks after his unexpected election over Hillary Clinton, Trump retweeted a comment by a 16-year-old supporting the president's false claims to have lost the popular vote due to voter fraud.

Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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